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Luxury over patient care: a new trend in hospitals

North Carolina patients may have noticed that some hospitals have made some major investments recently. The lobbies may be nicer, or they may even feature nail salons and flat-screen televisions. The one thing that hospitals are not making major investments in, however, is patient safety.

The reason for the disparity may be a combination of the financial incentive to provide amenities to patients and the lack of incentive to invest in measures that will keep patients safe. Hospitals are paid by insurance companies and Medicare. In an effort to keep beds full and increase revenue, hospitals invest in spas, salons and concert pianists to attract patients who, in turn, demand that the luxury hospitals are added to their plans. Safe hospitals are not as demanded as those with nail salons.

According to a story by NPR and Propublica, medical mistakes are responsible for the deaths of between 210,000 and 440,000 every year. If these figures accurately represent reality, medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States. Though many of victims of these errors are already very sick, the fact that so many people die from preventable complications has not received as much attention as cosmetic upgrades to hospital facilities.

Patients who are harmed by mistakes made by doctors or other hospital staff may choose to file a lawsuit against the facility or the medical providers. A lawyer who has experience helping medical malpractice victims may be able to help an injured patient find out what happened. They may also file a malpractice suit and either go to court or negotiate a settlement with the liable party.

Source: WBUR, "In The Race For ‘Fanciest Hospital In Town,’ Patient Safety Loses Out", Ashish Jha, October 02, 2013

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